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Cardiff Blues call on experience against Ospreys

Rhun Williams

Cardiff Blues have been boosted by experience for their Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with the Ospreys on Friday night (7.15pm).

Richard Hodges has made nine changes to the team that fell to a heavy defeat to Exeter Chiefs with a host of first team players returning.

Dan Fish, Cory Allen, Matthew Rees, Jarrad Hoeata and Macauley Cook all start at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, while Anton Peikrishvili makes his first start.

Elite Performance Pathway Manager Hodges, who is heading up the coaching staff during the Anglo-Welsh Cup said: “Everyone was disappointed with how Sunday went. We’ve gone through and applied, in some detail, the lessons that need to be learnt for the Ospreys on Friday night.

“There’s a bit of pressure on some of the boys who may have struggled last week to learn the lessons, put things right and they have the opportunity against the Ospreys.

“It’s been quite a methodical approach towards getting the team prepared and with a bit more experience we feel in a better place.”

Rees captains Wales’ Capital Region for the clash with the Ospreys, who narrowly lost their opening encounter to Harlequins.

The Blues have not faced the Ospreys at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park since 2013 and Hodges is hoping for a big turnout in the capital.

He added: “With the Principality Stadium double header, we tend to play our home fixture against the Ospreys there. So the opportunity to have them on our pitch, on a dry night lends itself to a big occasion.

“A Welsh derby at home on a Friday night stokes the fire along with a bit of hurt from Sunday – we should be an energised group come kick-off.”

Cardiff Blues: Dan Fish; Owen Lane, Cory Allen, Garyn Smith, Rhun Williams; Ben Jones, Rhodri Davies; Brad Thyer, Matthew Rees (capt), Anton Peikrishvili, Jarrad Hoeata, James Down, Macauley Cook, Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Sheekey

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, James Botham, Hemi Barnes, Dane Blacker, Harri Millard.

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